Disturbing details from deadly wreck

NEWSCENTER 23
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POSTED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 5:09pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 7:51am

The probable cause statement from McAllen PD reveals details from the fatal car accident that happened on State Highway 107 off 29th Street early Sunday morning.

According to the statement, Rene Claudio Jr. was driving while intoxicated when he struck the vehicle driven by the victim, Roberto Cortez Jr.  It was determined that the Ford Focus, driven by Cortez, was struck in the rear by the gray Lexus driven by Claudio.  Both vehicles were traveling westbound on State Highway 107.

After impact, the victim lost control and hit the median, causing his vehicle to roll over.  Cortez was trapped inside the vehicle when it caught on fire.

Witnesses at the scene attempted to help Cortez out of the burning vehicle, but the fire was too intense.  These witnesses also stated that they saw Claudio exit the Lexus and proceed to walk westbound on State Highway 107.  The witnesses yelled at Claudio to stop, but he continued to walk away from the scene.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene but could not be identified at the time because he was burned beyond recognition.  Cortez was 33-years-old.

Claudio was eventually located by detectives at his residence and stated to them that he changed his clothes because they were covered in blood.

Claudio also admitted to texting and driving when he struck Cortez's vehicle.  He has been charged with three felonies--intoxication assault, accident involving injury or death, and tampering with evidence.

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